Scientology has never been this much fun
Reviewed at Tandanya on 2 March 2019
Presented by Cathy Schenkelberg
Alongside her hugely successful Squeeze My Cans, theatrical polymath Cathy Schenkelberg is premiering her new show, Squeeze My Cabaret, at this year’s Fringe.
Both shows are based on her experiences whilst caught up in Scientology, however, they are quite different in style, content and intention. Squeeze My Cans is a story, delivered to the audience, who are asked to come to their own conclusions. Squeeze My Cabaret is a blatant fun-poke at the silliness of a so-called “religion” founded by a science-fiction writer.
Giving her permission to play, and paint with lighter strokes than My Cans, My Cabaret is a showcase for Schenkelberg’s wonderful singing voice. The work is true to the heart of cabaret, consisting predominantly of songs, both originals and parodies, such as You Can (pretend to) Be Anything You Want to Be, and Dear Mr Hubbard. The satire is biting, without tipping into the uncomfortably viscious.
Another surprising and delightful aspect of this work is the puppetry. The audience gets to know Xenu the Alien and Tom, both of whom are beautiful rod puppets, operated masterfully, and given incredible character.
Keeping a racy, but not frenetic pace, Squeeze My Cabaret comes together seamlessly as Schenkelberg buys in completely to everything she does: schtick, singing, puppetry, impro, and interaction. The preview audience included two children who laughed almost more than most of the adults, and clearly delighted in the theatrical performance presented to them. This is a testament to the underlying warmth and humanity of this hilarious, sparkly, intelligent and engaging show.
She may have failed the audition to be Tom Cruise’s girlfriend, but judging by the work she is presenting at Fringe…it was his loss!
Reviewed by Tracey Korsten
Season: March 13th -17th, various times
Duration: 60 minutes